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Wearable Tech

Oculus conference hits Hollywood in September as virtual-reality competition heats up

The Facebook-owned virtual-reality company is teasing new content and announcements at its upcoming event in Los Angeles -- which could include new hardware, too.

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Screenshot by Dan Graziano/CNET

Apple has its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Google has I/O, Microsoft has Build, Facebook has F8 -- and now Oculus has Connect. That's the developer conference devoted to anyone who's interested in making content or accessories for the fledgling virtual-reality platform, which uses specialized PC- or smartphone-compatible goggles to fully immerse users in an artificial world.

Oculus VR on Wednesday sent invitations to the press for the company's second annual Connect event, which will run from September 23 through 26 in Hollywood, California. While the event had been previously announced, the company has offered a more specific agenda for the four-day conference.

Expect a trio of keynote addresses on September 24 from CEO Brendan Iribe, Chief Scientist Michael Abrash and CTO John Carmack. The Facebook-owned company has said it will highlight "new content" and make a "number of announcements" during the event. (All keynotes will be livestreamed.)

Oculus Rift
The PC-compatible Oculus Rift headset is due in 2016. Josh Miller/CNET

Possible new hardware

While Oculus has already pledged an early 2016 release window for its keystone hardware product, the Oculus Rift, the company may offer a more specific date at the Connect event. But two recent tweets from Carmack have intimated the possibility of updates to the Gear VR hardware, the Oculus-compatible accessories that convert some Samsung phones into virtual-reality goggles:

Samsung and Oculus currently offer Gear VR headsets that are compatible with 2014's Galaxy Note 4 and early 2015's Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge -- but neither of those units support the just-launched Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ . Hardware that could support those new Samsung phones -- if not other models -- would seem like a logical addition to the line.

Either way, Oculus will undoubtedly be looking to establish its virtual-reality platform as a de facto standard in light of increasing competition on deck from the likes the HTC Vive , Sony Project Morpheus and Google Project Cardboard .

CNET will have complete coverage of the event next month.